I love birth.
But most people don't hear the word "childbirth" and think "I love that."
For many the idea of birth brings forth emotions like fear, pain and even trauma.
It doesn't have to be this way.
Here are 10 things to love about childbirth.
I know, I know, everybody hates contractions. But you shouldn't! Contractions are amazing. Contractions are what you feel in labor. You probably have had many that you haven't even felt, and they do incredible work.
Contractions are beautiful in their own right. The peaks. The valleys. The steady, increasing rhythm of this glorious natural function. They are reflected countless times in the world around us, from the lapping of the ocean waves to the hills and valleys of nature, to the endless rhythm of the seasons.
They come and go involuntarily, but unlike many other uncontrollable body functions, in the end you get a baby.
2. Your Uterus
Speaking of contractions, your amazing uterus (along with a cocktail of hormones and other wonders) makes them happen. The uterus, being the largest organ in the body at the time of birth, works its little butt off pumping away, moving the baby down, the cervix open, and the baby out.
The uterus is truly an incredible and incredibly powerful organ which we should surely brag about.
3. Your Cervix
Technically part of the uterus, the cervix or "neck" of the uterus is what those contractions and feelings of labor are hard at work opening. From a tight, long state to open and soft, the cervix is another wonder of the female body. The contractions that open it may sometimes be painful, but isn't everything in life that is truly worthwhile sometimes uncomfortable?
Birth is the big event for your cervix. It does change through your monthly cycle, but nowhere else does it such amazing things as when you labor and birth.
We are women. We need pampering sometimes. Yet, we tend to spend much of our time serving and pampering others. Childbirth is one of those times where a woman should be absolutely pampered by a team of loving and supportive care providers, friends, and loved ones.
Women should feel like a princess and be treated like one while they give birth. People should feed them, bring water to their lips (without being asked), bring them pillows, birth balls and anything they want so that they can labor without distraction and surrounded by love.
Childbirth is one of the few times that women embrace total guilt-free pampering. Enjoy it.
We live in a world full of distractions. Electronic devices, people, work, obligations, and a combination of the above grab for our attention constantly. It is difficult to not be scattered and distracted.
Labor has great power to encourage focus. In fact, when labor gets going for real, it is difficult to think of anything else. It is consuming and demanding in its way, but truly amazing, even otherworldly. Few times in your life will you know the focus required for birth. Intense athletics come close, but don't yield near the dividends.
In our modern culture, childbirth has become the expertise of learned men who rarely sport a uterus, much less pregnancy. But birth has long been a sacred female art. Women have always given birth surrounded by women who support, encourage, and protect them and the birth space.
Nothing in the world can build a sisterhood among women like childbirth. I was struck most powerfully by an eye-opening feeling of common experience with the women around me when I was pregnant with my first baby.
And those feelings hardly compare to the sense of sisterhood a woman feels when surrounded by doula, midwife, and other gentle women when they give birth.
7. Your Partner
Women are awesome, but I couldn't leave out the birth partner. One of the most incredible things about childbirth is the connection that it builds between the birthing mother and her partner. Childbirth isn't just important- it is life changing.
A time of raw vulnerability and power, a time of true dichotomies. Childbirth is the time for the mother and her intimate partner to truly connect over something holy and far bigger than themselves. These memories and emotions serve to sustain them in the sometimes trying days ahead.
Ouch. Let's be real, part of the reason you can focus so well in labor is because it is some intense stuff.
People hate and even fear the intense sensations (often called pain) of childbirth, but I love them so. OK, I don't love them so when I am IN them, but after, they give me something awesome.
I have even written about why I love transition labor. Sometimes the hardest times are secretly the best.
Yup, this is why childbirth changed my life and me forever and ever. Triumph. There is nothing more triumphant than the moment of birth. 9 or 10 months of gestation along with all the accompanying aches and pains, plus hours of labor that showed you who was boss, and then, only then, emerges a sweet baby.
You made a person. Then this (huge) person exited your body in a mostly invisible and miraculous fashion.
Not much compares this "top of the word" feeling that comes after baby is born.
Those are the emotions of childbirth, or at least they should be.
This is heavy, transformative, and empowering stuff.
Ok, this one is not unexpected. This is really what childbirth is all about- the baby. It is wonderful and beyond amazing to hold a baby in your arms. This is the reason I care about birth, women, triumph, and all the rest.
Squishy, needy, curled, and covered in an incredible smell only had by brand new babies, there is nothing like the human newborn.
They are like little people, only somehow better.
Childbirth gets lots of bad press. People say it is dangerous, that it ruins your body, that it ruins your career, costs too much and so much more. But childbirth is an incredible experience that showcases the inherent power of women. We should cherish rather than deride it.
Birth is good stuff.
Photo credit, in order: sundaykofax / Foter.com / CC BY,Uterus- Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images /Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions, Focus- Photo credit: greendoula / Foter.com / CC BY-ND, Sisterhood- Photo credit: greendoula / Foter.com / CC BY-ND, Partner- Photo credit: mikeporcenaluk / Foter.com / CC BY-ND, baby- Photo credit: theogeo / Foter.com / CC BY